Covid-19 booster dose inoculation for priority groups will start from December 24 to 31. The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced this yesterday.
The ministry’s press release stated that the vaccines would be dispensed from the respective health centres.
“The priority groups are all adults who are 18 years and above residing in high-risk areas, all the people above 65 years, people above 18 and living with chronic medical conditions, health workers, and outbound travellers,” the press release stated.
According to a note sheet the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) shared last week, there are 172,328 individuals who are 18 years and above living in high-risk areas.
According to the records there are 42,632 people above 65 and with a higher risk of severe infection, 6,797 who are 18 years and above living with a chronic medical condition, and 6,824 health workers with a high risk of infection.
The note sheet also stated that the chronic medical conditions include heart disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory diseases (COPD, asthma, interstitial lung disease, active pulmonary tuberculosis), cancers, chronic kidney diseases, and chronic liver diseases.
According to the press release, mRNA (Moderna and Pfizer) vaccines will be injected as a booster.
“AstraZeneca or Covishield will be provided as a choice for the people who have taken the same vaccine type for the first two doses or if mRNA vaccine is contraindicated,” the press release stated.
Although the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group had initially proposed that the PMO provide only mRNA vaccines as booster doses based on the global trend, the Prime Minister asked the advisory group to look again into the feasibility of using both vaccine types for a booster dose.
The press release stated that the ministry will start distributing vaccines to the dzongkhags from December 16 and the dzongkhags will plan vaccination programs accordingly.
It is said that the risk of a confirmed coronavirus infection in those who have received boosters appears to be 11-fold less compared to those who have received only two doses. The booster doses have been proven to be effective.
Bhutan has 263,010 doses of mRNA vaccine, out of which 159,570 doses are Pfizer expiring in March 2022, and 103,440 doses of Moderna (half doses) expiring in February 2022. “In addition, there are also 69,000 doses of Covishield expiring in March 2023.”
Bhutan rolled out its second Covid-19 vaccination dose on July 20, the distribution of which lasted for one week and a total of 76.8 percent of the overall population is fully vaccinated as of today.